Posted: May 24th, 2022

Comparative Politics assignment paper

Politics – Country Case Study – Brazil

Brazil’s success during its early years is primarily owed to the fact that colonists were attracted by its potential and New World settlement promises meant to influence individuals into leaving their home in favor of a rich and fertile territory. In spite of the fact that the majority of Brazilians during the late nineteenth century consisted of African-Americans, the country’s public rapidly diversified as European immigrants started to flow into the area. With Portugal’s royal family being strongly connected to its South American colony, Brazil became more important and locals started to express their need for independence. The country went through several political crises until 1985, when influential people there installed a democratic government.

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Even with the turmoil that dominated most of the twentieth century, Brazil’s international role was established during the early nineteenth century, when it became independent. Emperor Pedro II’s influence did not last for long, as people in Brazil were determined to install a Republic. The colonialist period and the Portuguese monarchy have played a very important role in shaping Brazilian thinking, especially given that people in Brazil associated independence with anti-monarchic feelings. While some might be inclined to believe that the colonialist period has had a limited effect on contemporary Brazil, matters are actually different. With the political junta, military dictatorship, and a series of other rulings that prevented people in Brazil from expressing themselves freely, it would seem that Democratic Brazil has lost any kind of connection to Colonial Brazil. Brazil is most certainly unable to leave its more distant past behind, even with the fact that it struggled to survive all across the twentieth century. It would surely be impossible for someone to ignore the remembrance of slavery, colonialism, and discrimination felt throughout present-day Brazil (Sadlier, 2008, p. 209).

The basis of modern-day Brazil lies in the military government that dominated the country in the twentieth century. Military rulers considered that a leader’s influence over the country would be stronger if locally-elected municipalities got the chance of holding power. This proved to be an essential factor in making Brazil one of the most advanced developing countries, as “whereas the national and state governments are strained by budget constraints and deficits, municipal governments are flush with cash as a result of fiscal transfers” (Arsenault). The 1988 Constitution made it possible for decentralization to take place on the streets of Brazil, influencing the masses in getting actively involved in the country’s affairs. In spite of the rapid evolution it experienced in the early 1990s, Brazil was unable to completely recover from one of its most significant problems – poverty. While Brazil’s infrastructure points toward the belief that it is a developed state, the conditions that its citizens live in are characteristic to people living in Third-World countries. It present situation is most probably owed to the fact that its leaders were unhesitant about adopting questioning financial policies and because they were unable to correctly exploit the country’s resources. With matters becoming even more desperate in the recent years, it seems that the government is once again willing to support a centralization process. It is difficult to predict the exact factors responsible for preventing the Brazilian state from advancing normally, as the government has tried several techniques and most of them failed to stabilize Brazil’s economy until the moment (Arsenault).

Decentralization stands as one of the most promising methods of assisting Brazil in recovering from the economic downfall that it experienced in the last few years. Decentralization affects both economy and politics, thus meaning that it is very likely for the government to have lesser and lesser influence over the people in the following years. These two factors are particulary important, especially when considering that “the location of party brokers and the expected career path for political careers affected decentralization after the 1980s” (Oatis, 2005, p. 4). Brazil’s decentralization was greatly influenced by the fact that most parties in the country expressed little to no confidence, thus making people feel that it would be better if they were to take power into their own hands.

In spite of Brazil’s series of crises, bloodshed was generally absent from the country’s recent history. Whether it was ruled by a monarchy, a military junta, or a democracy, the country managed to get over its dark days rapidly and with as little damage as possible. Decentralization primarily happened because military leaders started to depend on local administrators and acknowledged that it was important for them to cooperate. It was all about power at a municipal level in the 1980s and 1990s, with most influential individuals in Brazil being aware that they had to collaborate with locals in order to achieve success in their enterprises.

Excessive inflation is one of the most important factors that needed to be addressed in the recent years in Brazil. The economic and structural reform experienced by Brazil during the first years of the Cardoso Administration did not last for long and conditions in the country rapidly changed as the poor economy and the small wages emphasized the fact that the country was, in point of fact, far from escaping some of its most significant problems. Competing markets contributed to Brazil’s issues by preventing local investors from being able to successfully expand. The 2008 Economic Depression was devastating in the context of Brazil’s economy. Brazil practically depends on stability present in international capital markets and its well-being relies on how economies evolve worldwide.

Ever since it became a democracy, Brazil has appointed its presidents through voting, with every adult citizen in the state being obliged to vote. Dilma Vana Rouseff is the current President of Brazil and she serves “both as head of the State and Chief of the Executive branch of government” (Brazil). The National Congress of Brazil is the governmental body of the federal government. The Congress is divided into two rooms, the Federal state and the Chamber of Deputies, with the former representing the upper house and the latter representing the lower house. There are a series of political parties in Brazil, but the country’s Senate and Chamber of deputies mainly consist out of individuals belonging to the Worker’s Party, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, and the Democrats. President Rouseff is a part of the Worker’s Party.

Although Brazil has had success in privatizing several domains, it is currently experiencing distress as a result of being unable to perfectly control its industries. With energy and transport related areas being controlled by the government, it is very likely for the country to continue to experience economic downfall.

The fact that Brazil is presently a global economic power is unfortunately not reflected by the corruption seen in its government, the unparalleled levels of poverty, and the violence that is seen all across the country. When all’s said and done, Brazil is a land of extremes, a land where one factor contrasts another, and a land where successful western concepts can be seen alongside of poverty, hunger, and a complete lack of authority.

Works cited:

Arsenault, Phillip, “Which Way? The Politics of Decentralization in Brazil,” Retrieved July 24, 2011, from the Academia Website:

Darlene J. Sadlier, Brazil Imagined: 1500 To the Present (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2008)

Kauneckis, Derek & Andersson Krister, “Making Decentralization Work: A Cross-National Examination of Local Governments and Natural Resource Governance in Latin America,” Retrieved July 24, 2011, from the University of Colorado Website:

Oatis, Taylor, “Decentralizing Centralized States: Electoral Incentives Generating Decentralization in Bolivia, Mexico, and Brazil, with a Twist,” Retrieved July 24, 2011, from the Carleton College Website:

“Brazil,” Retrieved July 27, 2011, from the Website:

“Federative Republic of Brazil,” Retrieved July 27, 2011, from the U.S. Department of State Website:

“Key Factors — Brazil,” Retrieved July 24, 2011, from the Fuqua School of Business Website:

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